Kaiser radiologists implicated in woman's cancer death

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Medical error claims are most commonly associated with physicians – a surgeon who leaves a piece of gauze inside a patient, or a doctor who administers the wrong dose of a medication. Medical malpractice claims can take different forms, however, as proven by the recent lawsuit filed against a pair of radiologists who failed to identify cancerous lesions in a woman’s lungs. The Cleveland woman subsequently died from an infection associated with lung cancer, according to the complaint.

The woman first began experiencing health problems in 2006, according to the suit, when she was put under surveillance for suspected nodules inside her lungs. A 2009 chest X-ray revealed questionable lesions inside the woman’s lungs, so she was sent for a more detailed CT scan. Kaiser Permanente radiologists failed to detect the lesions inside the woman’s lungs on two separate occasions, including an additional exam in March 2010. The radiologist reported seeing no change between the two images, according to the complaint.

The woman was subsequently diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2010, after a CT scan in October revealed a large tumor within her organs. She died in June 2011 from sepsis associated with the metastatic cancer, according to the suit.

Reports show that the woman’s husband is seeking to recover damages from the two radiologists who failed to identify her cancer at the appropriate stage. He claims that the pair provided substandard care because they failed to properly interpret the images. The woman could have likely been saved from the devastating disease if the two radiologists had simply done their jobs. Instead, their negligence essentially killed the victim, according to the court documents.

The complaint states that the radiologists are directly responsible for the woman’s misdiagnosis. Her condition, which would have been treatable if identified in 2009, quickly turned fatal because of the inaccurate scans.

The woman’s husband is seeking $25,000 in connection with the errors. That sum includes funeral costs.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Kaiser mistakes blamed for woman’s death,” Philip A. Janquart, Jan. 24, 2013